This, the fourth Cathedral of Saint Paul, was the dream of Archbishop John Ireland, who secured the site in 1904. The Archdiocese was growing and Ireland saw the need for a "great Cathedral" to replace the third Cathedral, which was 46 years old at the time and too small for the growing congregation. One of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture, the Cathedral was designed by E. L. Masqueray.
The cornerstone was laid on June 2, 1907. The first liturgy was held on Palm Sunday, March 28, 1915. Work continued on the interior for decades. On October 14, 1958, it was consecrated by Archbishop William O. Brady, securing its place among the premier houses of worship in the United States. It was placed on the National Register of Historical Buildings in 1974.
The Cathedral dominates the Saint Paul skyline and is situated on the highest point in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. For the wider community, as well as for our parishioners, the Cathedral provides opportunities to enhance our appreciation for the arts. The parish hosts a regular organ concert series showcasing the Cathedral's two Skinner organs. The Minnesota Orchestra and Vocal Essence are some of the groups that present concerts at the Cathedral each year. The waves of immigrants that flooded into Minnesota in the late 19th and early 20th centuries fueled the diversity that the archdiocese still enjoys. The Cathedral of Saint Paul has always been an open and welcoming community of faith. The Shrine of the Nations is a testament to the important roles that immigrant communities have played in the history of the Cathedral. These shrines surrounding the sanctuary honor saints who were important to the many different ethnic communities that helped to build the Cathedral that we see today.
Tours of the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Paul are held every Tuesday through Friday at 1:00 p.m. Tours are free of charge, though donations are gratefully received. Tours are suspended on Holy Days and civil holidays.